I’m not mourning a grandfather l lost I’m mourning the grandfather l never had.
How is it possible that I am saddened by the death of someone I have never met, someone whom I only remember from a picture which displayed only the left portion of his face.
Shouldn’t l be mad that he never made any attempt to communicate while he still had his good health…or maybe he did and no one told me
It’s strange mourning someone you never met.
I find myself thinking about the time mum talked about how hard she had struggled to forgive him. Forgive him for what? No one ever told me why l grew up without a grandfather or more so who he was. So its a bit hard to share in mums sentiments of forgiveness when l don’t even know what’s to forgive.
To me the memories l have are of make believe. The make believe stories, the make believe grandfatherly love make believe fights, make believe possessive behaviour, make believe life advice. I like to think l was lucky because l got to choose, in my imagination, the type of grandfather l wanted.
I feel for mum because she is torn. She lost the father she fought so hard to forgive but she lost a father nonetheless
So i am not sad that he died, he had suffered enough, l am sad because of the time lost, memories that could have been made. I am sad because l get to meet my grandfather in a coffin..
A lot of young people in particular youth leaders still feel excluded when it comes to developmental issues. Youth policies have been put in place to ensure that young people take their rightful place in creating the world they want to live in, but implementation of these policies is lacking a great deal.
This was a short podacast l did for Gender Links on including SADC youth in sustainable development. Please follow these links to see my full story.
These words still resonate in my head each time I speak to my uncle. He asked me this question a while ago and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. For those who do not understand, the direct translation for my title is “you now dream in English?” My uncle is very passionate about maintaining our culture and importantly our “ndebeleness”
As a kid I never understood or appreciated why he never wanted any other language but Ndebele to be spoken in his presence, in fact at times it enraged me. But as I grew, I began to learn about concepts like cultural imperialism and degradation, I began to understand that we ran the risk of completely embracing foreign cultures and languages (both English and Shona) and neglecting our own language. I am writing as a person who comes from a Ndebele speaking background and this is not an attack on the Shona or English languages.
I began to notice that I was part of the lost generation when I realized that I could hardly hold a decent conversation in Ndebele without stammering or pausing to translate words from English to Ndebele. How could I have allowed this foreign language to completely take over me, in terms of speech? I suppose attending school like Convent, where speaking English seemed to be the most important thing played a huge part in this. In most cases for one to fit in with most of the students you had to speak English impeccably was of utter importance. And as such this “English speaking only” culture gave rise to the “twang”. This is almost a nasal way of speaking English, it almost sounds like you are forcing yourself to speak. Now I am not judging anyone who speaks with a twang because I myself am guilty of having one at times.
We have become too worried about how people speak English and tend to laugh at how certain tribes pronounce certain words, e.g. how the Shona pronounce 12 (Tkwowf) or how Ndebele’s say Bokkle. Yes, granted its funny, but as people often say, it’s not my mother language so I can’t be blamed for not pronouncing all the words correctly.
We may laugh at how the South Africans and Batswana cannot speak English but I actually respect them, because they love and embrace their own languages more than their colonial languages. I suppose to them, there are far more important things in life than focusing on the shape of your lips so you pronounce an English word properly. And to them I say Bravo!
A lot of our “undoing” as Ndebele speakers, or whatever vernacular language, begins at home. I have noticed, with surprising dismay, that a lot of young parents prioritize teaching their children the English language over their mother tongue. I often find myself asking the parents of many children, “uyakhuluma isiNdebele?” And in most cases the answer is no or mbijana. When asked why, the most popular response is “ah uzasifunda esikolo!” Esikolo?? What kind? Why don’t we instill in “our” children a sense of self pride? Loving your own culture, heritage and history above that of the West?
Now I am not linguist, or an expert in all things culture, heritage or language related, but I have begun to read a lot on the subject. The fact of the matter is, in the words of Isaac Mpofu (UNYANDENI MPOFU), “English as a language is smothering Ndebele very fast.” It is up to us to decide whether we want to save it or not.
There are quite a few people out there who share the same concerns as I do. I would advise all of you to follow the links at the bottom, to read what other people are saying about this topic, you will find it quite thought-provoking. These links are far from exhaustive and you are not limited to just these, there is much more, these were the ones I read most recently.
Why can’t feminism be a way of life? Why must it always be put under the spot light and questioned for the reasons of its existence. This is more so during this time as the world celebrates (or commemorates?) the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.
Last week Monday marked the beginning of the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.It was the International Day for Elimination of violence against women. So I thought I would do my part my airing my views on certain issues and hopefully get a message out there. I have heard many people saying that the issue of Gender Based Violence (GBV) is an issue for the feminists. But what does that even mean? Who are these feminists who must deal with an issue that one way or the other affects a large number of our population?
“The term feminism is generally understood to mean a commitment to equal treatment and equality for women” (Rothman, 2005).The term feminism means different things to different people. Some believe or pretend to believe that feminists hate men, and their way of life goes against nature because they believe the world can do without men. Others have gone as far as labeling all feminists as lesbians. Someone once suggested that the origins of feminism come from a group of women that wanted to challenge God and creation and instead of having the Holy Trinity being made up of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit should removed and replaced by a woman (Mary, mother of Jesus) so that women could represented even on Holy grounds. I personally cannot subscribe to such a school of thought because that’s a bit extreme. I mean wanting to change the face of religion and Christianity just for the sake of a movement, which as my grandmother would say ”engasoze ikungenise ezulwini”
I, however, did question what this concept of feminism actually means, and like every other social issue being debated about, is very dynamic and as such cannot have one “correct” or sufficient response. I will share one though which I found to be simple and interesting. When asked what the word feminism means, my colleague Gwen said: “ For me this has always meant being considered an equal in society. Not in the sense that I can carry the 50kg my male counterpart can but in the sense that despite whatever physical differences we might have, we are ultimately both equal and both deserve an equal opportunity in life.” I suppose the main reason I considered this a satisfactory response was because I acknowledge the fact that men and women are not the same, especially in strength because as it is my brother who is 5 years my junior is much stronger than I am, but that does not mean my parents should then provide a much better quality of education (for example).
So now back to my question. Why must feminism be a debate? Well precisely because its such a dynamic issue, understood so differently by people. So its then difficult to introduce a lifestyle into society or at least make it a norm, if the people who subscribe to it do not really understand the concept themselves. So in essence what I’m saying is, before we label ourselves or other people feminists, take time to really think about what it means. Honestly I think this concept is quite simple, but I acknowledge that for others its not so simple.
Many people have spoken written about, demonstrated about issues of empowering women. Many have even won numerous awards for their incredible contributions towards curbing the problem of male superiority, gender-based violence, gender equality, rape and domestic violence. Countless numbers of women have been bullied, beaten, picked on, victimized and even sent to prison for standing up to our dominantly patriarchal society and “telling the truth as it is”. A quick Google search will give you a list of the most celebrated gender activists like Sojourner Truth and Jane Adams, but there are also the less internationally celebrated women like Marieme Jamme and Elinor Sisulu but who play a huge role in their respective countries in advocating for women’s rights.
The main thrust behind what most of these women stand for and always advocate for is education. Emancipation of women through education, is what they call it. There have been a lot of successful workshops, seminars, outreach programs, lectures and door-to-door communication about educating women so that the world as a whole may start accepting that all human being were created equally. Having said this I feel that I should look at the issue of empowering women from another angle rather than education, and that is through poetry and art.
I recently attended a Girl Child Voices Fiesta and this concept of Defining Girl Voices through Artistic Fusion was first introduced to me. I was amazed at the amount of raw talent that we have lying around in this beautiful country of ours and a group of equally talented and inspirational artists thought to use these talents to air the views of the girl child child in our country. Because poetry is such a personal and emotional thing, it is easier for the girl child to air her true thoughts to people out there. When someone come sup with a poem,they bare the entirety of their souls, they go to those places of emotion which they themselves did not know existed. The same thing goes for art. When an artist creates a piece of work, inmost cases its a form of expression. Expressing yourself in ways that words really wouldn’t do justice.
So it is in appreciation of where this concept of Defining Girl Voices through Artistic Fusion comes from and the number of opportunities that it has opened up, that I commend artists like Mbizo Chirasha and Kudzi Mutiti, who founded the Girl Child Creativity Project, which has paved the way to this amazing concept. The Girl Child Creativity is a project designed to mitigate under representation and unbalanced participation of young female writers/poets in areas of creative writing ,literature,literacy and poetry performance development . It further enhances the ability of the girl child to develop herself mentally.
So as we celebrate International Day of The Girl Child today, I thought I would play my very small part by praising people who come up with these small scale projects that really touch the lives of many young women in their communities. I hope that one day I will be able to also make a difference in people’s lives as these people have done.
What is sexually transmitted success? Well as the name suggests, its when an individual makes a success of their career by having sexual relations. In essence the success is transmitted by having sex with your boss. Now when it comes to this topic many people, women in particular are staunch believer that is it completely wrong and there is always another way to make it to the top. Women who sleep their way to the top or even just to keep their jobs are judged and looked down upon. Sex for success is a straight up NO NO and there is no room for understanding. These kind of sexual relations are degrading to women, and some have gone as far as equating it to prostitution (the politically correct term is sex work), because essentially what these people are doing is having sex so they can pay bills and stuff.
Now im not condoning the practice, but at times things are not as clear cut as we make them out to be and in theory women should not just give in to their superiors or whatever so that they can move up the ladder, but in practice things can be a bit more complicated. Its fair and fine to say that I would rather wait for the right time where i will get that position or job im that company. It is very commendable when a woman would rather stick to her values and not sleep with her sex craving chauvinist boss. But whilst you are sticking to your principles, how are you going to pay the rent, send your kids to school, pay for your grandmothers heart medication. Sure we can say I can always look for another job, but in all honesty that’s easier said than done in most cases. I know people who even with their university qualifications can remain unemployed for an indeterminable period of time. How will you make ends meet in the mean time?
There are times when a woman knows that she has earned a promotion within an organisation and no one else is better suited for the job. Sadly she works in a male dominated environment and her boss is a bit of a sexist pig and the board members who determine whether or not a person gets a promotion are dominantly sexist. Now the only way for her to reach her goal is to sleep with her boss. Sure she can report her case to a higher authority but she knows that whilst she is doing that, someone else can grab that promotion from right under her nose.
So what am I saying? There are some women who have chosen sex as the easiest way to succeed as there is not much hard work and hustle involved, but what they must note is that, the very person they have slept with will always hold it over their head, that they wouldn’t be where they are without them. Then there are women who genuinely feel that they have no choice but to be infected with sexually transmitted success. So before we judge people lets first find out where they are coming from and assist them in what ever way we can..
At a recent Food for Thought session at the American embassy a number of Zimbabwean artists raised a number of issues but the one that really caught my interest was that of what it means to be African. There are a number of answers to this question. I was quite baffled when a young lady raised the point that being African is the result of colonial times so we must not dwell too much on creating African Art because we are just emphasizing the label that colonizers gave us. If we then adhere to this school of thought that there no such a thing as an African, how then do we identify or recognize the people from Africa? Africa is too big and diverse a continent to just to leave undefined.
I will leave it up to you to decide.in conclusin i will leave you with the following link:
“I embrace my African heritage with unwavering sentiment; being African is a privilege, not a right; being African is not defined by race, gender, religion, geo-political boundaries or ethnicity but by philosophies and ideologies rich in morals, ethics and an African culture; in essence, being African is a state of mind; being African is about being what I call of ‘higher character’ and to lack this ‘higher character’ (African dictators for example) means you revoke your rights to being considered a son or daughter of the motherland; what is ‘higher character’ ?! Nobility, Purity and Strength is what contextualizes ‘higher character’ . Africa is a land of beauty, blessed with a beautiful people!”